Australian PM Tony Abbott: Sydney cafe siege a 'horrific wake-up call'
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Thursday (Dec 18) admitted Sydney’s cafe siege was “an horrific wake-up call” as details emerged of the final minutes of the standoff which left the gunman and two hostages dead.
Abbott has ordered an urgent enquiry into the circumstances surrounding the tragedy and why deranged self-styled Islamic cleric Man Haron Monis was not under surveillance given his history of extremism and violence.
The Iranian-born 50-year-old was on bail for a string of charges, including sexual offences and abetting the murder of his ex-wife.
"This has been a horrific wake-up call," Abbott told Macquarie Radio when asked if this was an accident waiting to happen, amid criticism that various authorities failed to act to take Monis off the streets.
"The tragedy is that this has happened. I mean, this was an atrocity, it may well have been a preventable atrocity, and that’s why this swift and thorough review is so important."
Monis, who was well known to authorities but not any counter-terror watchlists, took 17 hostages at a cafe in the heart of Sydney on Monday, unfurling an Islamic flag during a 16-hour siege.
He was killed along with two victims – the cafe’s manager, 34, and a 38-year-old mother-of-three – in a bloody end to the standoff.